Anxiety has a way of randomly popping up and taking over one’s life. From the overthinking and anxiousness to the rapid breathing and increasing heart rate, it can be a struggle to ease said anxiety. At times, it can even feel impossible. Michael Malkin, the founder of Calm Strips, and an anxiety sufferer himself, knew these anxiety symptoms all too well while he managed the Apple Store. The busier the store got, the more anxious Michael became. He often found himself drumming his fingers on a table or using painter’s tape as a soothing technique for his fingers.
While Michael’s soothing tactics may have helped relieve the anxiety, they weren’t too practical; his fingers would become sticky from the tape, which seemed unappealing in the workplace. This eventually led him to come up with a more discreet, yet effective, tool to replace the tape tactic. He knew he wasn’t the only one in need of an item as such, as many people suffer from anxiety. Michael wanted to create something similar to a fidget toy, but less bulky and noticeable. Something that can be on hand at all times for those sneaky anxiety attacks.
After some thought, Michael came up with his product. What was his solution? He essentially combined his painter’s tape tactic with a sensory tool to create… Calm Strips! Calm Strips are basically texturized strips of tape that can be attached to everyday objects such as phones, keyboards, lanyards, keychains, etc. For quite some time, tactile items have been used for relieving anxiety attacks; while his creation may not be new, it’s definitely an improvement.
Experiencing symptoms of anxiety? Just locate your Calm Strip; touch it, scratch it, or rub it to calm those symptoms. Not only has this method been known to reduce anxiety, but it can also help people focus on tasks while their mind may be wandering. In fact, Calm Strips are being used in well over 3,000 schools across the United States to help with just that.
Michael, and his administrator Luce Fuller, officially launched the Calm Strips company in April 2020. Later on, in May 2021, the company opened an office with five new employees, along with introduced new inventory – circular Calm Strips. Shortly after that time, the company had been running successfully with 100,000 happy customers; however, Michael and Luce wanted to aim higher. They wanted further guidance with their companies growth and marketing; who better to help with that than a shark from Shark Tank.
Calm Strips on Shark Tank
Michael Malkin and Luce Fuller take their chances on Shark Tank, in hopes of getting an offer of $250,000 for 10% of Calm Strips. While introducing their company to the sharks, they mention how beneficial and effective Calm Strips are for those with anxiety. They introduce the features of the product by handing out samples and showing how the strips can stick to a multitude of surfaces. While the sharks test out the strips, Michael explains how the idea came about, as well as how important the sensory textures are.
The first shark to speak up is Daymond; however, he seems to be confused about the product, so he backs out. Luce steps up to explain that Calm Strips has more than 100,000 customers who understand it, love it, and that the return rate isn’t even at 1%. In fact, since launching their company, they’ve made $2.5 million in sales. Already, Kevin and Robert love the concept and the product. Mark, on the other hand, believes they will have problems when it comes to scaling; he backs out as well.
Michael goes on to mention that about 45 million Americans around the world suffer from anxiety; Robert agrees with this because he has autistic family members. He also mentions that tactile objects, similar to Calm Strips, have helped said family members greatly. Robert offers Michael and Luce $250,000 for a 35% equity. Kevin then offers the $250,000; however, he doesn’t include an equity percentage. Instead, he proposes $2.50 per unit sold until he receives the $250,000 back, along with a $1 per unit afterwards.
As a counter to Kevin’s offer, Robert adds to his offer; $2.50 per unit sold until the $250,000 is covered, with a $1.50 perpetuity until netting $750,000. Before responding to either of the offers presented to them, the entrepreneurs turn to Lori to ask if she’s interested in placing an offer. This choice seemed to have hit Robert the wrong way, as he decided to back out right after. Lori mentions that she would offer the same offer as Kevin; however, she wanted to include an 8% equity.
Although Robert had backed out, Michael asks him if he would consider doing $250,000 for a 20% equity in Calm Strips. Robert isn’t interested in doing that. They go into negotiations, but Robert is adamant on his initial offer. Overall, the entrepreneurs give into the deal and accept Robert’s offer of $250,000 and $2.50 until the $250,000 is covered, along with the $1.50 perpetuity per unit until Robert makes $750,000.
Calm Strips Now in 2024 – The After Shark Tank Update
As of 2024, Calm Strips remains in business and has become much more popular. Actually, after the airing of Shark Tank, the company was flushed with new customers and increased sales. Calm Strips were even introduced to small businesses in February 2022. During the pandemic, the company saw yet another increase in sales, along with reaching a total of over 125,000 customers across the world. In addition to that, Calm Strips can now be shipped to the UK and Australia rather than just the US and Canada.
Calm Strips continue to be a success in schools due to counselors and teachers loving them, and it’s likely that the entrepreneurs will be able to get them into more schools thanks to Robert. Luckily, Calm Strips can be ordered in packs of 120 for $119.99, packs of 30 for $49.99, and packs of 5 for $12.99. These packs can be found on the companies website or on Amazon.
Continuing on with their successes, Calm Strips now offers contests for communities to design their own strips. Whichever design wins, will have the chance of being featured on newly-made strips to be sold. Although the business is already doing fantastic, they’re continuing to move forward in their success.
As for the entrepreneurs of Calm Strips, Michael Malkin continues to be the owner of the company. While he hasn’t been active on LinkedIn, he does appear to be actively posting on the Calm Strips Instagram account on a daily basis. Luce Fuller continues her position as the Administrative Director and Co-Owner of Calm Strips. She also has not been active on LinkedIn; however, she does have an Instagram account where she is actively posting her artwork for her 5in8 designs jewelry on Etsy.
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